Tag Archives: procurement careers

Unlock Success By Unleashing Your Procurement Mojo

Don’t be defined by other people’s perceptions of you. Tap into your personal mojo to hit the heights in your career.

sigi-osagie mojo

It’s sad, but true, that many people leave their career growth at the mercy of their employers or bosses. People who take ownership of their career destiny are much more likely to attain success. Because once you reach out for your mojo, it reaches out for you too.

Your mojo doesn’t care whether you work in Procurement, Finance or the local convenience store. It simply wants to be unleashed and manifested in your success.

Mojo – The Fire in Your Belly

Unleashing your procurement mojo is as much about your personal mojo as it is about the procurement work you do. It all starts with you, and the fire of the human spirit in your belly.

Immeasurable capabilities abound in the human spirit. The same spirit that brought us the steam engine, penicillin and the internet. The same spirit embodied in Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Adele, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Ellen MacArthur. That same spirit resides in YOU.

Look how far you’ve come, how many obstacles you’ve overcome, and how many mountains you’ve climbed, to get to this point in your career. And you have the potential for greater successes.

Achieving Extraordinary Things

Whatever your story, whatever your background, you have the capacity to achieve extraordinary things, because you were born with your mojo in you.

Your mojo is your personal gift of inner success, of being the best you can be. But you must unwrap that gift to manifest it in reality.

Passion is a key aspect of manifesting your mojo. When we have passion for our work, it rarely feels like “work”. Do you feel the power of your passion in the work you’re doing? If not, you should ask yourself why.

And don’t wait for things to change, change things yourself. Perhaps your perspectives, your thought processes, your attitude to the job. Or, maybe, even changing jobs and moving to something that gets your juices flowing.

Passion is the critical fuel that’ll sustain you on your career journey, especially in challenging times. And just because things may not sometimes feel like they’re progressing ‘to-plan’ doesn’t mean that things aren’t progressing.

There are always two plans unfolding and spurring you towards your mojo – your plan and a slicker, more intelligent version written by life. When both are congruent is when we feel the ‘flow’ in our work.

Do You Know What You Want?

You’ll only ever have a good chance of attaining this through your personal effectiveness. Being effective in how you go about your work and career development, and making the most of your critical resources, e.g., your time, your thoughts and imagination, and your money.

Career success may be truly important to you, but you invest no time and money on your career development. Yet you always watch your favourite TV programme, or you find time for 5-a-side football every week. Hmmm…

Some people spend more money on their satellite TV or clothes shopping each year than they do on their career development. Would YOU class this as being effective?

Personal effectiveness means doing the right things to get what you want. But do you know what you want? What are your career goals? If you have none, then you’re not targeting any particular outcomes. That’s like being on a journey without a destination.

Your goals are the North Star of your career journey. They give you focus on your aspirations, whether it’s to get a promotion in 2 years, to become a director in 1 year, to become CPO in 5 years or to set up your own business in 6 months.

A Route-Map to Success

Having a goal without a plan to achieve it sounds delusional. Planning is how you get from A to B. Or how you achieve “X” outcome or result, whether it’s the Panama Canal expansion project or your loft conversion project. It’s the same with your career.

Your career plan is a rough draft of your route-map to success. So stay flexible to recognise when life is giving you a better scheme of stepping-stones, especially when they’re disguised as challenges, which demand perseverance and self-belief.

Challenges often entail stretching yourself and learning something new, which is how we grow.

Whether we’re dealing with a disguised opportunity or a pre-defined career move, action is what counts. Take action to achieve what you want. Don’t wait for things to happen; make them happen. Start today – do something specific that will propel you powerfully towards your career goals.

Intentional action is part of self-leadership and taking responsibility. You are the CEO of “My Career, Inc.”.

Don’t wait for your boss or employer to craft your career destiny. There’s only one person who can unleash your procurement mojo – guess who that is!

Have faith in yourself. And don’t let anyone stop you. Not even yourself.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Mind over Matter – The Quantum Leap to Success

Making the quantum leap from your current state to a successful future is just a case of mind over matter.

quantum-theory

We all want to set ourselves up for happiness and success in our lives, careers and relationships. But how do we harness the power of the mind to create a new reality?

Well, to change our lives, we need to start by changing our beliefs about the nature of reality.

The Quantum Model of Reality

Everything we have been conditioned to believe about reality is being challenged by quantum physics. In the classical Newtonian physics model, all things were considered solid. Energy could be explained as a force to move objects or to change the physical state of matter.

This mechanistic universe was believed to operate according to predetermined laws, where humanity had little influence over outcomes. Well, quantum physics has since proven that nothing could be further from the truth.

Matter is actually more nothing (energy) than something (particles). Atoms are 99.99999 per cent energy and only .00001 per cent matter. At the subatomic level, particles can become waves and vice versa, therefore, matter behaves just like energy.

In a ground-breaking experiment, quantum physicists discovered the Observer Effect.

They proved that electrons exist simultaneously in an infinite array of probabilities in an invisible field of energy. Only when the experimenter focused attention on any one location in the field, did any one electron appear.

In other words, a particle cannot manifest in reality until we observe it. Energy responds to our mindful attention and becomes matter.

When we embrace the quantum model of reality, all physical reality is primarily energy existing in a vast web, interconnected across space and time.

This quantum field holds all possibilities, which we can collapse into reality through our thoughts, observation, and feelings. Our thoughts and feelings broadcast an electromagnetic signal to the quantum field.

By changing our electromagnetic signature to match a desired reality that already exists in the field, we are then drawn to those events and new reality.

Is positive thinking enough to change our reality?

Psychologists have found that by the time we’re in our mid 30s, our personality will be completely formed. This memorised set of behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, emotional reactions, habits, skills, memories and perceptions that are now unconsciously programmed within us, control 95 per cent of who we are.

Only 5 per cent of the mind is conscious. It is struggling against the 95 per cent that is running subconscious automatic programs. So, if we are just using our conscious mind to create our desired life through positive thinking, affirmations and visualisations, we have overlooked the 95 per cent that is unconsciously affecting our electromagnetic signature, to which the quantum field is responding.

The brain is in constant communication with the body in a cycle of thinking and feeling, feeling and thinking. Eventually, this becomes an unconscious pattern that begins to control our behaviour without our awareness.

When we are living from this place of unconscious repetition, our body is running the show but we are not actually aware of it.

Mind and Body in Synch

When the mind and body are in opposition, change will never happen. Think about how much of your creative energy is tied up in guilt, judgement, fear and anxiety related to people and experiences in your past.

It is impossible to create any new future when you are rooted in the past. You have to clear out the old weeds by their roots, before you can cultivate a new self by planting the seeds of new thoughts, behaviours and emotions that create a new life.

Becoming conscious of our unconscious emotional patterns allows us to take back control of our lives and turn destructive energy into productive energy. Most people try to create in a state of lack, unworthiness, separation, or some other self-limiting emotion rather than a state of gratitude, enthusiasm, and wholeness.

Through meditation practice, we can access the subconscious mind directly to bring awareness to our automatic programs and begin to rewire the brain for a new reality.

Aligning Thought, Feeling and Action

The quantum model of reality tells us that to change our lives, we must fundamentally change the way we think, feel and act. The quantum field is not responding to what we want, but rather, to who we are being. We can’t think one way and feel another, and expect anything to change in our life.

Our habitual thoughts, feelings and behaviours must transform into a new state of being. We have to think and act greater than our present circumstances. When thought, feeling and action are aligned, we elicit new responses from the quantum field.

When your mind and body are in a state of appreciation for something that exists as your potential future reality, you transmit a signal into the field that a desired event has already occurred.

This means changing your brain, mind and body ahead of the physical experience, and feeling as though whatever you desire is in your reality at this very moment.

Leave the Past in the Past

If you wait for something outside of you to make you happy, then you are not following quantum law. Instead of relying on the outer to change the inner, change something inside of you to produce an effect outside of you.

The biggest hurdle for most to overcome is wanting to control a future reality by trying to re-create how it occurred in the past. Instead, hold a clear intention of what you want, but leave how a desired event will unfold to the unpredictable quantum field.

Just surrender. Trust and allow the field to orchestrate an event in your life in a way that’s just right for you.

The moment that you are in that new state of being, feeling the positive emotion of your desired reality, and experiencing it in the present moment, your heart and mind are working in alignment, and you are connected to all the possible realities that exist in the quantum field.

Health and wellness authority, Brendan Turner specialises in helping people heal unconscious emotional patterns and past trauma.

While finishing his Psychology Degree, Brendan spent four years with The Source Recruitment. He put his mindfulness expertise to great use to help major Australian firms recruit the best procurement professionals.

For further information contact him at www.turnercorner.com.au.

Be a Procurement Polygon – Learning From All Sides

Procurement pros get to experience all sides of their organisation –  and that’s the key to learning!

learning styles

Megan Sunderland, Vice President Global Procurement / CPO of Beam Suntory, considers the opportunities enjoyed by procurement professionals, who have access to diverse elements of business to help boost learning, both inside and outside their organisations. 

Megan also identifies some of her organisation’s key competencies, lauds the value of having external career mentors, and explains why you need to first believe in yourself, before you can do the job properly. 

1. What were your first 3 jobs?

  1. A Cheesemaker for King Island Dairies – This was fate given that my last name used to be Cheesman!
  2. Production Supervisor with Nestle Confectionery
  3. Food Technologist R&D with Nestle Foods

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I wish I’d always had the self confidence to know that you earn a  job because of who you are and the experiences that you have learnt along the way.  It’s important to listen to the role demands but also believe in yourself that you have the goods to make it successful.

3. How can CPOs attract and retain millennials?

By highlighting the many facets to Procurement.

Every project is different; you get to touch and work with every part of not only your business, but also other vendor businesses. This provides great opportunities for learning and development. 

4. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

Beam Suntory have identified 10 competencies that are important for procurement professionals.  Project management, analytics, results focus and professionalism are among the most critical. 

5. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

I have had various mentors throughout my career.  I still keep in touch with many of them and use their pieces of wisdom almost daily.  Having a mentor who is external to your organisation can provide alternate perspectives. 

This provides the ability for you to become objective and perhaps see things from an angle that you would have never considered otherwise.  To keep your eyes wide open and being able to stop, think and challenge is invaluable.

6. What are you looking for in high potential recruits for Beam Suntory?

Cultural fit is very important in every business. Specifically though, I look for a continuous improvement mindset and courageous behaviours. I like to see people who are not afraid to have the difficult conversations.

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

When Worlds Collide: Becoming More Valuable Online

Have you got a split personality online? One for personal life, and one for professional life? Then you’re doing it wrong!

jay-scheer online

You’ve been invited to a huge, can’t-miss networking event, and everyone is going to be there – your friends, your colleagues, your clients, and even people from that awesome company you want to work for. When you arrive, you grab a name tag and head into the crowd.

Throngs of people approach you, ready to strike up a conversation. However, instead of saying hi, you direct them to a specific room depending upon who they are – friends go one place, colleagues another, and so on.

Seems absurd, right? And yet, this is exactly what takes place millions of times a day on social media, which is, essentially, the biggest networking opportunity of all time.

If you are segmenting yourself on social media, you’re not only wasting your time, you could be wasting a valuable chance to advance your career.

What’s The Problem?

Conventional wisdom, thanks to nervous HR departments, opportunistic career coaches, and pundits alike, is to keep your personal and professional lives separated online.

However, this convention is outdated.

Back in the infancy of social media, this advice made some sense. The medium was new and scary, and people had few accounts to manage.

However, today it’s a different story. Social media is a ubiquitous part of our lives, with established norms, rules and etiquette. There are 2.3 billion active social media users around the world, and the average person has 5.5 accounts.

Building barriers between your personal self and your professional self is simply not realistic. And, more importantly, it’s not worth it. After all, people want to connect with other people, not corporate people or family-photo sharing people, but fully formed, complete and relatable human beings.

So, instead of building these barriers that keep the people who are already in your life separated, leverage social media to strengthen your existing connections and bring more people into your digital world.

What Can You Do Online?

In order to enhance your connections and encourage new ones, you need to be engaging, human and, ultimately, valuable. Here’s how you can do just that:

  • Start thinking of yourself as a brand

Like with any good brand, in order to attract customers, you need to have something to offer. In this case, it can be your knowledge, insight or even your humour. Whatever it is, give people a reason to engage with you.

In addition, you should have a unique voice that sets you apart from your competitors, along with a set of standards that ensures you are always projecting the right image to the public.

  • Be authentic and conversational

Have you ever received a auto-dial call? If so, you probably just hung up. That’s because listening to a pre-recorded, impersonal and one-way message appeals to approximately no-one. If you’re constantly just copying and pasting your company’s posts, that’s exactly what you sound like.

Take a different approach by injecting your personality – your brand voice – whenever possible.  Also, try to engage people in conversations by responding to their posts or asking questions.

  • Be targeted

While you should not be afraid to show people who you are, you also have to consider who will be on the other end of your messages. Thus, you need to be targeted in your social media activity.

Always consider the medium and the audience, and then tailor your activity accordingly. For example, Facebook leans more personal, so having your content skew more personal is perfectly fine.

On the other hand, communities like LinkedIn and Procurious are great for showcasing your professional knowledge, while Twitter may require more of a balancing act.

Visual mediums like Pinterest and Instagram are great for conveying your interests in a way that isn’t verbose, preachy or repetitive.

  • Don’t be banal

This is a simple rule –if nobody will care, don’t post it!

The most commonly cited example of banal content is tweeting about where you went for lunch. It’s not interesting to anyone, regardless of medium or audience.

However, sprinkling some personal insight – like why you support local businesses such as the great restaurant you ate at – can be engaging.

  • Draw a line

It should go without saying, but never post extremist views or any content that may be inappropriate for a boss, coworker or client to see online.

When in doubt, give yourself the grandma test. Would you want your grandma to see the post? If grandma would put the kibosh on it, so should you. If she’d be fine with it, go ahead and post it.

Then, thank your grandma for giving you such good advice.

Exception to the Rule

While breaking down the barriers between personal and professional can prove beneficial to most employees, it can be a major headache for business owners. One personal misstep can have negative ramifications on your professional endeavours.

If you are the head of a company, it’s almost always advisable to create a set of accounts for your personal brand, and another set of accounts for your actual brand.

Give People a Reason to Connect with You

If you’ve spent years building up walls, knocking them down can be incredibly scary. Fortunately, there are many supply chain professionals who you can turn to for a successful blueprint.

For example, Lora Cecere, the Supply Chain Shaman, and Tania Seary, the founder of Procurious, do an excellent job, and it’s why they’ve amassed such tremendous followings.

In addition, many young procurement pros know how to leverage social media assets in their careers. Nicholas Ammaturo and Wesley Whitney, two recent 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars winners, do a great job in particular.

Social media is the greatest networking opportunity of all time. While you don’t need an invitation, you do need to give people a reason to connect with you. With these tips, you can make it happen and make yourself more valuable online.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

7 Habits of Highly Effective Networkers

Your network is one of the most important things to cultivate during your career. But what habits do the best networkers have? And how can you develop them yourself?

habits

Networking with career advancement in mind requires some planning and focus. The key to successful networking is to market yourself using resources available to you and uncover job opportunities that may otherwise be hidden.

Look at your network as a living and breathing organism that needs food and nurturing to allow it to flourish.

Your network should include anyone who can assist you with a job search or career move. It may include ex-bosses and ex-colleagues, current co-workers, HR managers in other companies and even recruiters. The best sustainable relationships involve considerable up-front investment and patience.

The best up-front investment and patience is done by developing good networking habits. So where to start?

  1. Who do you know?

Your best resource is the people you know already. Make a list of people that you feel can assist you in your career search, contact them informally and let them know you are in the market for a change. Let them know what type of role you are looking for, and if they ask for your CV, that’s fine too.

Don’t be shy to ask them who else they know that could help you. Remember the 6 degrees of separation? It has been said that there is only three degrees of separation between people in procurement.

The greatest value of your network for career advancement may be in the second degree, the contacts of your contacts.

  1. Get focused

While the first of the habits above is in progress, compile a list of specialist recruiters or HR professionals in the companies that you have identified as targets. Pick only the recruiters that have expertise in your niche, generalists may waste your time.

Make sure your CV and contact details are up-to-date. It sounds obvious but is often overlooked. Contact the identified person directly and ask them for information and advice about working for their company or for their clients.

Where you make good contacts, follow up regularly and be persistent.

  1. Keep tracking your network

Keep a journal of your networking activity. Who did you contact, when and what transpired? Schedule the next actions and continue to follow up. This is what all the best salespeople do.

When people change their job their address and other details change. When they move, drop them a note to wish them well and find out what they are up to. Their new opportunity could lead to a new opportunity for you.

  1. Be a resource

Help others with sharing your contacts, experience and knowledge before helping yourself. Many people fail at networking because it’s obvious they are just a one way street. You get back what you give, it’s called pay it forward.

If you expect to leverage people in your network, you have to be prepared for people to use you too. People will invariably return the favour if they consider you to be a good resource. If you become aware of an opportunity or an event, send it on to the appropriate people in your network.

  1. Listen carefully

Take time to find out about the person you’re talking to before showcasing your own achievements. Standing and speaking in a similar way to your colleagues – i.e. ‘matching and mirroring’ their body movements and tone of voice – is an excellent way to relax people, which helps to build rapport and establish areas of common interest.

Be interested – turn the conversation back to the other person. People love to talk about themselves! If the conversation has reached its natural end, move on, respectfully.

  1. Networking at events

Conferences, industry events and trade shows offer great opportunities to network with people from other companies in your industry or your area of functional expertise.

You can tap into an organisation through the delegates even if they are not from the area you are interested in, they can open the door to a more relevant contact, maybe a senior executive or HR manager.

As they say, just work the room.

  1. Be online, but selectively

Any information you provide online about your job background and accomplishments should be consistent across social media.  Don’t assume a prospective employer or recruiter will only be checking you out on LinkedIn.

You can be rejected outright before you get asked for your CV if you are seen to be unprofessional in any way such as misrepresenting your achievements or qualifications. Any inability to communicate clearly in writing will also lose you opportunities.

When networking online, make sure that you know what you want and be specific in any request to your contacts.

Remember, it’s not all about you! Develop these habits, and keep track of your network, and it should set you on the road to success.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

The Five Hour Rule – Learning One Hour At A Time

Ditch the workload for the ‘Five Hour Rule’ and instead find innovative, alternate ways to enrich your mind and learn something new in just one hour per day.

five hour rule

Are you frantically working to the last minute of every day?  Do you measure your daily achievements on how much of your work-load you get through?

As your procurement career progresses do you feel your responsibilities mounting and any personal development goals being sidelined?

If the answer to any of those questions if yes then Procurious is here to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. It’s time to adopt the ‘Five Hour Rule’.

What Is The Five Hour Rule?

The Five Hour Rule is a widely adopted practise which involves participants dedicating one hour of the working day to doing something entirely non-work-load-related.

Notable entrepreneurs, artists, business leaders, politicians, and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, have endorsed the strategy. They believe that devoting just one hour of purposeful distraction to their day, each weekday, can pay huge dividends to their intelligence and business success.

Putting aside your daily routine can be a valuable technique for expanding your mind.

Let’s take a look at Benjamin Franklin. An apprentice from the age of 10, Franklin didn’t seem to be a gifted academic. However, he’s now one of the most recognisable names in history, famous for his inventions, writing, and entrepreneurial projects.

Franklin adopted the art of constant learning throughout his adult life. He took at least one hour out of his busy schedule every weekday to learn a new skill, read, write, set goals or experiment.

Constant learning is the key to success.

Top Tips for Sticking With It

  • Set aside the time. The same time each day can be a good approach.
  • Plan out the learning. Set some goals for what you want to learn, rather than just goals for what you want to accomplish.
  • Solve problems as they arise. Don’t sweep issues under the carpet that are hard to solve. Set aside time to address them before they grow into big problems.
  • Implement your learnings. Picked up something new? Implement it straight away.

How Should I Spend My Golden Hour?

This is one of those rare times when there is no right or wrong answer – so embrace it! Think of something you’ve always wanted to do, a topic you’re curious about or somewhere you’d like to go.

The more obscure the better. You’ll return to your desk with a fresher perspective and your mind enhanced with the new things you’ve learnt.

If you’re still lacking inspiration we’ve come up with a few ideas.

Do Something Active

Sign up to a gym class, go for a run, or walk to a park. If solitary exercise doesn’t appeal, join a sports club. Switching your mind off for an hour from your current workload gives you the chance to revisit it with a new perspective.

Learn Something New

Try learning something new and totally unrelated to work. Read a book: an autobiography of someone you admire; 100 pages of that novel you keep meaning to finish; a political magazine; a non-fiction history book.

Challenge yourself to memorise every state in the USA, and when you’ve done that, every country in the world. Listen to a podcast about a topic which interests you, watch a documentary. Take an online language course or have a piano lesson.

Take Up a Hobby

Why not start writing a blog or a book? Buy an art tutorial book and learn to paint from scratch. Do a floristry class or a photography course. Start cooking or baking.

Volunteer to teach disadvantaged students, join a charity and start doing activist work. Find a debating society and argue with others over things you care about.

Visit Somewhere Different

Go somewhere close to your workplace that you’ve been meaning to go, a coffee shop, a restaurant a gallery, a museum, a shop-  explore the area.

Use the time to think about something – anything other than work. Don’t force yourself to focus on your immediate goals or to- do list. It’s not productive.

The Eureka Moment

Is all of this sounding a little too romanticised and self indulgent?  The truth is, you never know when and where you might have that life-changing “Eureka moment”.

Slogging away, hunched over your computer screen isn’t necessarily conducive to coming up with a career-changing, innovative idea.

Author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Elizabeth Gilbert, was struggling with a failed draft of her memoir, so took up gardening to clear her head.

There, pulling up tomato vines, she suddenly realised how to fix her book. She washed her hands, returned to her desk, and within three months, she had completed the final version of her book, Committed. It subsequently spent over a year at the top of the New York Times’ non-fiction best sellers list.

Pick something that interests, excites or motivates you and immerse yourself in it.

You could also adopt the five hour rule to help with your professional development. As part of your hour, take part in the Procuruous Career Boot Camp.

You’ll spend your time listening to podcasts from our expert coaches, reading articles from global thought leaders, and join in on discussions with over 17,000 fellow procurement and supply chain professionals.

You never know where it might lead you!

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

The Big Squeeze – 5 lessons From My #first7jobs

Having to squeeze into a tight uniform for one of my first jobs taught me an important life-long business lesson.

tania-seary-tight-uniforms

We live in an age where people want to get to the top as quickly as possible, so they can share their career successes on their Facebook, LinkedIn, and of course if you’re in procurement, Procurious profiles.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the great leaders we see today had to start somewhere too. And it wasn’t always in a garage with a group of geeky friends, coming up with the next technology breakthrough!

In a recent internet trend, people shared posts with the hashtag #FirstSevenJobs, documenting their career paths over the years. Sheryl Sandberg added her seven-jobs list to the mix:

sheryl-sandberg-7-jobs

The hashtag originated with singer-songwriter Marian Call, then Twitter users, including celebrities Stephen Colbert, Buzz Aldrin, Regina Spektor and Lin-Manuel Miranda, shared their first seven jobs, which included gigs from washing dishes to nude modelling (yikes!).

Walk Down Memory Lane

Whether or not you think other people’s first seven jobs are of any interest or value, I wanted to prompt everyone in procurement to reflect on some of the important career lessons they have learned.

If you like, you can stop reading here now and take time out to reflect on your own career journey, rather than reading mine!

My first seven jobs (if I remember correctly!) were car washer, delicatessen assistant, waitress, waitress, waitress, and secretary.

Here are five business (and hopefully humorous!) lessons I learned from my first job in a delicatessen.

1. The Big Squeeze to be on Time

My uniform was the price for punctuality in my delicatessen job. If you were there late you got the last choice. In my case on one shift, this meant a uniform at least two sizes too small.

With my chest busting out of the uniform and my long legs protruding from the short skirt, I got a lot of unwanted attention that shift. Not to mention when I also slipped in a pile of hot chicken fat on the floor and went head over heels.

The embarrassment alone was enough to make sure I always got to work early enough to have my choice of uniforms.

Today one of my many personal flaws is punctuality. Whilst my ambition to squeeze as many productive things into a day as I can, my ability to deliver on time doesn’t match.

Procurious team member Kalem McCarthy studied music. In his interview with me he shared a valuable piece of advice he learned from one of his conductors – “Early is on time, on time is being late.” So being ready 10 minutes before practice began was actually being “on time”.

I couldn’t agree more. Being settled, ready with all your equipment to hand at the time of the meeting “kick off” makes a strong impression, and definitely leads to more productive use of everyone’s time.

2. The Cross-Eyed Customer

Now let’s get out of the orchestra pit and get back to my Deli thirty years ago.

Every week I would have a charming cross-eyed man come in. And (unfortunately) every week I would look over my shoulder thinking he was looking at someone else. Every week I would get mad at myself for forgetting this particular customer.

There’s no doubt about it. Working in hospitality teaches you a lot about people and really improves your communication skills, particularly dispute resolution.

One of my favourite characters in the movie ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘, Monsieur Gustave H., says that an angry customer is just someone who is afraid of not getting what they want.

At a time when procurement is talking a lot about business partnering and stakeholder engagement, I thought this was a worthwhile lesson to share.

Every customer is unique in both their personality and their needs – some for the better, some for the worse. But as our customers, we need to remember their needs, and for them cater as best we can.

3. The Holy Trinity – Your Boss, Your Team and You

On my first day in the Deli, my new boss came up behind me and whispered, “It’s time to go on your break”. I instantly knew my enthusiastic response “no, I’m OK, I don’t need a break” was not the answer she was looking for.

I’m not sure if I was meant to be part of a union, but that was certainly the way it felt. It was very clear that I didn’t have an option, my break was to be utilised right at that point!

As a young buck, I remember sitting in the break room bored out of my brain waiting to get back to work. I love working! But it was an important lesson learned early, because it turned out to be the same when I worked in manufacturing. You had to follow the team rules, norms, and work “rituals”, and respect the culture, and, of course, the hierarchy (aka the boss).

As most of you working in large corporates understand, it doesn’t pay to ever step too far out of line. It’s a tough line you walk – balancing being the intrapraneur, but not rocking the boat too much!

4. The Folding Stuff

I will never forget that first small yellow pay packet that had $13 rattling around in it. The fact that I’m remembering actually getting cash in my pay packet is something that really makes me feel old. That really doesn’t happen much any more…does it??

But I guess that reminds me, still, how hard it is to come by money!  When you compare what you earn with the hours you put in, it’s not a strong return!

So, watch your pennies, and invest wisely. Utilise all those great negotiation and cost saving skills you’re learning in procurement, and apply them to your personal life.

5. Your Network Will Get You Your Next Job

Hey, you’d be disappointed if I didn’t raise this point, wouldn’t you?!

If you look back at your career, I bet (like me) your earliest jobs were found through your network. Someone you had worked with, or worked for, recommended you to someone, who then offered you a job.

The best way to get your next great job, is to do a great job in the job you’re in! Everyone notices talent. Someone in your network will recommend you to someone in their network. The dots will connect!

Just keep doing your job well and building your network.

Why not tell us what your first three jobs were? And also, what have you learned over your career that has stayed with you?

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

It’s The Final Countdown: Introducing Week 3’s Career Coaches

We’re into the final week, the home stretch. But there are still five top coaches waiting for you in Week 3.

personal-trainer final countdown

We’ve sprinted, sweated, shouted and stretched our way through two weeks of Career Boot Camp. Our limbs may be aching, our cheeks might be red, but it’s all been worth it, as we start to see the career plans of 17,000+ procurement professionals taking shape.

The Procurious community has trained hard so far, but now is not the time to get complacent. To reap the benefits from Boot Camp it’s important to commit to all fifteen days in order to emerge with a fully toned skill set.

Ready for the Final Push

Let’s make the final push a big one and end Career Boot Camp on the highest high.

Coming up in Week 3 are podcasts from Procurious’ General Manager, the CEO of London’s leading women’s health club, and the founder of a first of its kind, online assessment tool which identifies organisational Game Changers.

These coaches will be addressing the importance of achieving a work/life balance, why you should be sharpening up your social media profile and how to be a game-changer.

DAY 11 – Monday 3rd October

nathan-ott‘Change the Game: Make a Disproportionate Difference’ – Nathan Ott, Co-creator of the Game Changer Index for Identifying High Potential Employees

Preferred Post-Work-Out Snack: Rare steak

It’s crucial for organisations to focus on the impact and contribution that their individual employees make. Nathan Ott asserts that every team member should aspire to being a game-changer in their own right and why it’s wrong to focus entirely on the spotlight-stealers.

As CEO and Co-Founder of the Game Changer Index and director at eg.1, Nathan works across all practice areas balancing his time between the needs of clients, the development of the team, and the growth and direction of eg.1.

In his podcast, Nathan will explain how to capitalise on your individual strengths, and, as a leader, how to value the unique potential of every individual.

DAY 12 – Tuesday 4th October

chris-sawchuk‘How to be the Most Valuable Player: Build Your Personal Scorecard’ – Chris Sawchuk, Principal & Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader, The Hackett Group

Favourite Team Sport: Dodge-ball

Earning “most valuable player” status at your organisation takes time, diligence and focus. Chris Sawchuk shares the playbook in Day 12’s podcast with some top tips on building your personal scorecard.

Chris has nearly 20 years’ supply management experience, working directly with Fortune 500 and mid-sized firms around the globe. He has even been recognised by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine as one of its “Pros to Know.”

Learn, from Chris, what it takes to become a trusted advisor, execute with agility, and make an invaluable contribution to your business. Chris also addresses the importance of maintaining a happy workforce in order to increase the levels of productivity.

DAY 13 – Wednesday 5th October

kate-percival‘Fit for Business, Fit for Life: Regain Your Work/Life Balance’ – Kate Percival, CEO, Grace Belgravia – London’s leading Women’s Health and Wellness Entrepeneur

Proudest Career Coach Moment: Motivating hundreds of procurement pros to work-out together and re-shape their future career plans.

With the new demands facing procurement professionals who are now on the go 24/7, how can you create the right work/life balance for yourself? Kate Percival has been CEO of Grace, London’s leading health, well-being and lifestyle club for women, since 2012.

She completed her masters thesis on the convergence of medicine and the global spa industry, which provided the basis of her business plan. Grace is a space that is a sanctuary for women, supporting them in health and well-being as well as in mind and soul.

Kate will offer her guidance on how to stay focused and energised to trigger greater success in the workplace.

DAY 14 – Thursday 6th October

carin-warner‘Brand You: Perfect Your Elevator Pitch’ – Carin Warner, Founder, Warner Communications – Strategist for 30 under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars

Post Workout Cool-Down Routine: Stretch it out. Have a hot stone massage followed by an ice bath. Enjoy a green smoothie.

What’s your personal brand, and do you really need one to advance in procurement?

Carin Warner believes the answer is a resounding yes! Carin’s podcast draws on her 20 + years of experience working with blue-chip clients on brand positioning and national recognition.

Today, she concentrates her expertise on brand image development, corporate communications, crisis communications and leading Warner Communications forward with a passion for creativity and desire for excellence.

On Day 14 of Career Boot Camp, Carin will delve into why procurement and supply chain professionals need to take control of their own personal branding to set themselves up for long-term success.

She’ll teach you to share what you know, share what you’ve learned and inform your peers and supervisors about all of the innovative things that you’re doing.

DAY 15 – Friday 7th October

lisa-maloneGet involved. Get ahead. Social media as Your Career Secret Weapon’ – Lisa Malone, GM Europe, Procurious – The World’s First Online Procurement Network

Advice for the final week of Career Boot Camp: This is the final hurdle so we need to see one last push to the end!

If you’re rolling out the same, old excuse that you’re “simply too busy” to fully capitalise on social media, Lisa Malone’s podcast is the one for you!

Lisa will convince you that just 15, well-spent minutes a day on social media is all you need to advance your career.

Having spent eight years working with professional services businesses to develop and lead communications strategy, refresh brand image and lead teams, Lisa knows a thing or two about branding.

She is a convert to the power of social media having spent the last two years as Procurious’ General Manager. She now works with commercial leaders to leverage this trend to amplify and affect change.

Lisa will explain the importance of building your personal brand, getting connected, key social media skills you should have mastered and how to implement a daily habit.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Teamwork is Procurement Dreamwork

Divide the task and multiply the success – why teamwork is just as critical for procurement success as individual brilliance.

teamwork

Sue Steele, Senior Vice President Global Supply Management for Jacobs, asserts the value of collaboration and teamwork for procurement success.

Sue also reveals what skills she looks for when hiring at Jacobs, discusses the critical importance of mentoring, and outlines the key skills procurement professionals need.

1. What were your first 3 jobs

  1. Student Activities Advisor at Auburn University
  2. Energy Conservation Consultant at Florida Power & Light (FPL)-Miami, Florida
  3. Power Services Representative-FPL, Miami, Florida

2. What’s one thing you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I wish I’d known that teamwork and collaboration are just as important as individual performance.

3. What key skills are critical for procurement in the next 5 years?

  • Strategic Sourcing
  • Systems Savvy
  • Cost Leadership.

4. How valuable have mentors been in your career?

Mentors are absolutely critical for career success. Throughout my career I have benefited from mentoring by executives, career coaches and peer to peer mentors.

5. What does it take to work at Jacobs? What are you looking for when you hire talent?

Jacobs is a technology, engineering, and construction firm so skills in those fields are preferable. We also look for experience with our clients or competitors in the Engineering & Construction industry.

Leadership, teamwork, good communication skills and innovation are other qualities we rate most highly. 

The Procurious Career Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!

Winning Popularity Contests Doesn’t Make a Great Manager

A great manager isn’t out to win any popularity contests. They want to win your trust and respect – and this is how they do it.

stuart-brocklehurst great manager

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip satirising office life, has observed that people frequently tell him how their manager is exactly like the incompetent Pointy Haired Boss. But no one ever sees any similarity to themselves.

Good leadership is a hard, and rock-strewn, path to take. It’s clichéd to state that management is not a popularity contest. Yet too many are more concerned with being liked by their staff within the present moment. And by failing to take and keep to tough decisions, they fail to win the respect and trust of their teams over time.

What Makes A Great Manager?

A great manager inspires our support and commitment, while not backing away from hard choices and difficult conversations. They are fair and consistent so their staff know they will be treated equally. They recognise achievement and celebrate individual improvement.

A great leader cares about each individual’s personal development and invests in it. Financially, perhaps, but far more importantly, invests their time, knowing that the return in greater productivity, in the time handed back as team members increase their capability, is invaluable.

Teams will back a manager who listens to them. They don’t expect the answer to every suggestion or request to be ‘yes’, but they – we – need to know that we’ll be heard, and paid the respect of a clear explanation of whatever path is chosen.

Empowerment is not abdication. It’s not dumping your problems on someone else’s plate. Empowerment is structured delegation, being clear on what you expect, keeping close to progress and being available to support through the difficulties which are encountered in any worthwhile endeavour.

It’s Not About How Much You Know

To be the leader of a team does not require you to have greater knowledge or skills than the members of that team – were that the case, it would be a pretty severe limitation on promotion.

What CEO knows more about finance than their CFO, more about HR than the HR Director and more about procurement than the CPO? Leadership requires comfort that each member of your team may – will, if you’re lucky – be better at their job than you.

And your job is to help them to perform to their very best.

Leadership is about inspiration. A leader must have a clear vision of where they’re going, whether it’s a small team, a department or a whole company they need to take with them. They must believe that vision.

They must articulate it clearly in a manner which is authentic to them, whether that is quietly one by one or loudly from the conference stage.

Do this, and your team will believe and engage with your vision, as you embark on a common journey together.

The Procurious Boot Camp will increase your stamina, get you in the best career shape of your life and help you to punch above your weight.

It’s not too late to sign up. Enlist here and get access to our 15 free podcasts from some of the best career coaches around. Don’t miss out – your career will thank you for it!